Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Mixed messages…

This afternoon, I got two emails back to back…

The first informed me that my project manager would like to talk with me (which probably means negotiate with me) for another 1 year contract.

The second, literally about a minute later, let’s all the team members I’ve been working with know that in October, November and December all the reports, downloads etc… have to be performed without my assistance. (Which would be normal procedure for the end of a contract period)…

Now some folks might think bad things when they see an email like that. They might think there’s an intention here to be certain the company can ‘get along’ without them.

I, on the other hand, am thinking she’s got some new project in mind, and wants to be sure I’m not going to be distracted by what should be a production process once the new contract period starts.

One of my colleagues tells me I’m crazy. I may be, but probably not about this. I’ve mentioned before that my project manager is a good manager, and she is. She’s far too good a manager to justify having me in the budget, just to baby-sit an existing process that should be 99% automatic month to month.

What do I think this next project might be? I don’t really know. Possibly convert all the string comparison work I did with Levinshtein, MetaPhone, NYSIIS and Jaro-Winkler into Java or COBOL, but that wouldn’t justify a 12 month gig.

My guess is that it’s something else, that I’m not even aware of yet. Then again, my friend could be right, I might just be crazy.

I should know more next week when she and I talk, I’ll certainly let you all know, when I do.

I’ve been working tonight on adding some SQL and a revised report to the project I did for that insurance company in Greensboro last year. I’ve been promising to ‘get to it’ for a while now, but due to the work load on the present contract, stuff around the house, and a compelling need to ‘relax’ lately I just haven’t gotten to it.

I’d forgotten how hard it is to shift from one development environment to another. If I’m going to continue to try and develop in both .Net and VFP (Visual FoxPro) I’m going to have to set aside a few hours every week to work in the environment I’m not working in the rest of the week. Development skills get rusty far too fast, or at least mine do.

That’s about it from here today, it’s been a long day and 4:30am comes pretty early. So far, Ophelia hasn’t created much of a stir this far inland. We had some strong breezes, and some light rain late this afternoon, but nothing much at all so far. I’m not anticipating much either. It appears to me that this storm will dump a lot of rain from Raleigh east, but points west of Raleigh won’t see much other than the occasional rain shower… I guess we’ll know by this time tomorrow.


Firehawk said...


I think that approaching the mixed messages in such a way as to preserve your own enthusiasm for the job is the best way. Fighting imaginary battles and keeping yourself up nights worrying about what your boss meant by an email probably isn't a good use of time on this earth.

I envy you all that "hard coding" skill. I'm moving into a position where I'm going to pick up a lot more expertise with the technical side of computing, but I don't know if there'll be any code involved. We'll see.

I hope you weather the storm without incident. Good luck.

Whit said...

Easier said than done, but don't borrow worry. You can only 'know what you know' and to go around wringing your hands over assumptions and what-ifs will make you absolutely batty.


Whit said...

That last sentence was supposed to be "Stay dry" -- but alas, I was too quick on the keys.

Bill said...

Firehawk - Sometimes I don't know if the coding skills are a blessing, or a curse. THey've certainly provided me with a pretty steady source of income over the years, as well as a creative outlet. I hope if you get involved in code work, you find it rewarding, as for most of my career it's been that for me.

The storm has pretty much stayed well East of us, the outer banks though appears to be getting a fairly relentless pounding.

Whit - I like that line: "Don't borrow worry"...

There's plenty to go arounds without looking for any!!

I have that same problem... "twitchy mouse finger" :)

Interesting note, I had a brief chat with my project manager yesterday. Seems her boss wants me there another year, at least. We're supposed to talk next week about it will be a 'job' or a contract... I'd love to work for these folks, great benefits, great working conditions etc... the only issue we'll have is salary.

I'll let y'all know how it turns out.

Thanks again for stopping by!

jenbeauty said...

Hope all goes well. Thinking about you and the conditions down there right now.

Bill said...

Jen - Thanks, I assure you though that we here in the 'mid-Carolina' area are doing just fine. It's the areas East of Raleigh that are feeling the effects of this storm.

Here, we've got some overcast skies, the occasional brief shower and 10-20mph breezes.

I do appreciate your thoughts though... fortunately I think most of the problems from this storm will be in the way of power outages, downed trees and damaged roofs and some beach erosion.

No_Newz said...

Did you get my e-mail? It was about a different kind of work. :)
Lois Lane

Bill said...

Lois - No I didn't!! Please resend it, it may have gotten caught in the 'spam' filter :(

I'll turn it off until I see your email!


Comfort Addict said...


I admire your positive approach. I must admit that I would not be the same. Of course, that could be because I've gotten just far enough into management so that I don't feel that absolute security in my technical skills that I used to. There's also so much off-shore outsourcing going on in this area that there are very few jobs (even for the talented).

Good luck with that storm.

Bill said...

CA - There's outsourcing/offshoring going on all around me as well, but mostly at the mainframe level.

In some views I suppose all of us 'contract' folks are and outsource, resource, of sorts.

The storm had little or no impact here, but, thanks for thinking of us.

Interesting you should mention the unsettling effect of moving from 'production' to management... I had a very similar process myself... I had the hardest time keeping my fingers out of the code!!

This trip it was just the reverse, I was worried my tech chops wouldn't be up to the requirements... truth is, *this* was a much easier transition!